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Maharashtra farmer leader snaps ties with BJP ahead of state polls

Tiwari accused the centre of making big promises, but failing to do enough for the farmers

Monday September 16, 2019 7:28 PM, IANS

Kishore Tiwari

[Kishore Tiwari with Shv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray in a file photo. (Photo: Kishore Tiwari/Facebook)]

Nagpur: In a significant development, leading farm activist Kishore Tiwari - who recently locked horns with Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari over the stringent penalties under the new Motor Vehicles Act - on Monday snapped ties with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

"We have broken all ties with the BJP. I shall return to my activities for the welfare of the farmers in Maharashtra and other parts of India. If required, we shall cooperate with the Shiv Sena for resolving the suffering farmers' plight," Tiwari told IANS.

Tiwari, who is the President of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), said that the VJAS was an "associate member" of the BJP-led NDA for the last 10 years, but now they are no longer together.

On the status of his cabinet-rank post of Chairman, Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM), to which he was appointed in mid-2015, he said that since the tenure of the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena government will end shortly, it is no longer an issue.

The occurrence took place barely five days after Tiwari's explosive interview (given to IANS on September 11), when he warned Gadkari that the stringent MVA penalties "are anti-people and could spur suicides in the country."

Tiwari's statements had embarrassed the BJP even as many states in the country are either rejecting or diluting the new MVA penalties. These include key states like Gujarat from where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP President Amit Shah hail, and Gadkari's home-state Maharashtra.

Elaborating on other reasons leading to his decision, Tiwari accused the centre of making big promises, but failing to do enough for the farmers in the country as their plight remains pitiable.

He said that successive governments at the Centre including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led UPA and the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA governments had proved unsuccessful in mitigating the peasants' woes.

"I feel deeply hurt... Even as the head of the VNSSM, the government failed to heed my advice on various critical issues concerning farmers' welfare, there were bureaucratic hurdles, many times if the state took decisions, the centre lagged behind in the implementation," he explained.

On his future plans, Tiwari said he will return to working for the farming community again by launching an extensive pre-election tour of Maharashtra soon and review the status in farmlands ahead of the Rabi season (winter crops).

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